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Journeyman
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You could determine what's "green" in a million ways.

LEED, net zero, and so on are useful, but the "greenest" is probably hill towns where nothing major ever gets built, everyone walks, and nobody has air conditioning or washing machines. At least if they treat their sewage. I say this as a contractor who builds a lot of very green projects.

What really counts the most? You can go a long way with recycled building materials and efficient HVAC. But being the greenest city should also refer to transportation, how much you're spewing out chemicals by air/water/ground, how much stuff you ship from elsewhere, and a million other factors.
 

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Love me, love my dog...
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3,075 Posts
You could determine what's "green" in a million ways.

LEED, net zero, and so on are useful, but the "greenest" is probably hill towns where nothing major ever gets built, everyone walks, and nobody has air conditioning or washing machines. At least if they treat their sewage. I say this as a contractor who builds a lot of very green projects.

What really counts the most? You can go a long way with recycled building materials and efficient HVAC. But being the greenest city should also refer to transportation, how much you're spewing out chemicals by air/water/ground, how much stuff you ship from elsewhere, and a million other factors.
Sure, but is that considered a "green commercial city"?
 

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Love me, love my dog...
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3,075 Posts
It is a surprise to see Atlanta on the list. I would have thought Seattle or Greater LA would be in that spot.
It's not a surprise for anyone familiar with development/construction practices in Atlanta. I'm not sure why you would expect LA or Seattle over Atlanta, but it sounds like a stereotypical way of thinking.
 

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The Memphian who's in ATL
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147 Posts
It's not a surprise for anyone familiar with development/construction practices in Atlanta. I'm not sure why you would expect LA or Seattle over Atlanta, but it sounds like a stereotypical way of thinking.
Yeah I thought the same thing when I read his post. It seems Atlanta still gets the undercover unconscious hate from people. Most would be VERY surprised if they visited and actually spend some time in the city and its inner developed neighborhoods.
 

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Journeyman
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Again, it depends what's being counted. Maybe Atlanta has a lot of LEED buildings. But it's still very low-density, with very low transit, pedestrian, and bike commute shares, and a ton of parking in new buildings.

Further, and I'm not looking at stats, but in a lot of cities a large percentage of "green" buildings are at the lowest rung, "Certified." At Certified, it's just any ol' building but they did the tracking and paperwork. Silver is a bit better. Gold is actually prioritizing sustainability. Platinum might be making real tradeoffs.

Then you get into more stringent systems like Net Zero and so on.
 

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Love me, love my dog...
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The original post clearly states the percentage of green buildings in each city. It has nothing to do with your list of density etc., but it's typical of some people to automatically bring up those kinds of things no matter what the discussion is about.

Very low transit? You might want to check again.
 

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In Search of Sanity
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3,689 Posts
Minneapolis tops the list of "green" commercial cities according to a joint study by CBRE and Maastrict University in the Netherlands.

Minneapolis has 77% of its buildings certified as "green" representing 152 million sq. feet of office space. 2nd-place is held by San Francisco with 67.2%. Chicago is 62.1%, followed by Houston at 54.8% and Atlanta at 54.1%.
Aside from the LEED buildings, San Francisco subsidizes rooftop solar on individual homes and, maybe more importantly, the city owns a hydropower dam in the Sierra mountains just south of Yosemite and uses the power to run a lot of the transit system (all the electric trolleys, LRVs, cable cars etc) and the streetlights.
 

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Journeyman
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16,936 Posts
The original post clearly states the percentage of green buildings in each city. It has nothing to do with your list of density etc., but it's typical of some people to automatically bring up those kinds of things no matter what the discussion is about.

Very low transit? You might want to check again.
Why not look it up before replying? Census.gov shows Atlanta having low numbers. Argue with them if you like. The 2012 ACS showed city of Atlanta's transit commute share at 10.6%, very low for a central city, and a remarkably low 2.9% for the metro.

I'm replying to the concept of "energy efficient green cities," not the rankings.

Both Energy Star and LEED (particularly at low levels) are limited in what they count, and neither is the be-all story on what's green, even if all you're counting is buildings. But they're good for impressing people who have nothing to do with building stuff, which I assume includes you.
 

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Love me, love my dog...
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Why not look it up before replying? Census.gov shows Atlanta having low numbers. Argue with them if you like. The 2012 ACS showed city of Atlanta's transit commute share at 10.6%, very low for a central city, and a remarkably low 2.9% for the metro.

I'm replying to the concept of "energy efficient green cities," not the rankings.

Both Energy Star and LEED (particularly at low levels) are limited in what they count, and neither is the be-all story on what's green, even if all you're counting is buildings. But they're good for impressing people who have nothing to do with building stuff, which I assume includes you.
Oh, silly me...I thought this discussion was about the study referenced in the original post - not your personal set of criteria. My bad. Nobody said anything was the be-all-end-all, but FOR THIS DISCUSSION it is about the study linked above. What I'm not impressed with is your attempt to make it about something else just because a city you don't care for is ranked higher than you think it is.

Whatever numbers you want to cite for Atlanta transit, it still ranks in the top 10 for American cities. I guess "very low transit" depends on what is being compared. Atlanta compared to most U.S. cities is not "very low".
 

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Oh No He Didn't
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5,297 Posts
Honestly the most energy efficient cities are cities that tend to emphasize walking, cycling, or public transit over auto usage for general transportation. While doing certain things such as adding green roofs or reusing waste water helps it does not really make a significant dent as far as energy usage is concerned. In New York City for instance the gasoline consumption in the city is the same rate as the national average in the 1920's.

Anyways LEED is pretty ridiculous standard to determine whether a building is environmentally friendly or not because they give points for things such as sourcing a material that is able to be sourced locally among other things.
 

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Journeyman
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Atlanta in the top 10 of transit cities? I'd like to see the criteria that would arrive at that. It's not per capita metro commute numbers, as "very low" is obvious. It's not municipal per capita commute numbers, since a great many municipalities outdid it (most of the 10 would be obvious, and it's easy to do find others on the ACS). So what is it? Grand total metro counts (not per capita), where you only have to beat Texas then you're up against much smaller cities, some of which still have higher numbers?

Your guess at my motives is pure trolling, based on nothing. If you can't handle this discussion on-topic, why bother?
 

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Journeyman
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Diablo, LEED has its pluses, but yes it's limited. When buildings with surface parking are getting frigging Platinum, that's a problem.
 
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